Katandra through to Haisman grand final

By Alex Mitchell

Katandra is heading to its third consecutive Haisman Shield grand final after comfortably seeing off Northerners by 127 runs on its home track.

A balanced performance with bat and ball proved more than enough to claim the preliminary final against the Jets, a result rarely in doubt after the Eagles found their feet early in the contest.

They will now get a chance to go back-to-back in another edition of the emerging rivalry with Numurkah, looking to add another victory to last year’s 41-run first-innings win.

Captain Luke Nolan was thrilled with his side’s display, but knew the job was still in front of it heading to this weekend’s decider.

‘‘It was a good win, we got the job done (yesterday) pretty well which was very pleasing,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll enjoy this win now, but we’re looking forward to next weekend.

‘‘It’s a really good core group in A-grade and everyone gets along really well. The grand final was obviously one of the goals at the start of the year and we’ve ticked that off, now we’re looking forward to next week.’’

Winning the toss and batting, the Eagles lost Ben Clurey (three) early and by the time they had 54 runs Nolan (15) and Scott Richardson (25) were back in the sheds.

But from there they controlled virtually every ball of the contest, starting with Andrew Riordan (47) and Jedd Wright (38), who steered the score to 5-132.

Depth also came in handy with No.6 batsman Brady Black making 31, while tail-enders Nathan Hickey (17) and Ray Ireland (14) chipped in with late runs to build a defendable total of 9-213.

Trent Sidebottom was the pick of the Jets’ bowlers with 5-46, keeping the target low enough to give his side’s batsmen a fighting chance.

But early in the chase the Jets were up against it, with Andrew Boyington (three), Joel Brett (duck) and Sidebottom (10) all gone with the score 3-13.

The damage continued as Richardson helped himself to 4-21, Corey Hickford finding 3-45 as the Eagles’ bowling unit never let the Jets take flight, regular wickets having them all out for 86.

Nolan said it was a comprehensive display in all facets.

‘‘I thought it was a competitive score, but it was a pretty good pitch and Northerners are a deep batting side, so I still thought we’d have to bowl pretty well,’’ he said.

‘‘It was a good job and one of our most complete efforts with the ball and in the field, on the big stage.

‘‘Jedd and Riordo’s partnership was key, both looked really good and looked like they would get us to a really big score before they unfortunately got out.

‘‘A few of those guys down the order got a bit of momentum and got a few runs which was pleasing.’’

For the Jets, it is a disappointingly similar ending to last season, where the Eagles again skittled them for 79 at the semi-final stage.

They jumped to fourth on the table, finishing with six wins, but failed to fire a shot in the finals, beaten by Numurkah by six wickets before the weekend’s loss.

‘‘It’s obviously disappointing to lose, we had a go (on Saturday) but just weren’t good enough (yesterday),’’ Jets captain Mitch Brett said.

‘‘You’re not going to win too many finals with 80 or 90 runs, whether you’re chasing or batting first.

‘‘A couple of decisions probably went against us which proved costly, but you can’t rely on things like that and we didn’t get it done.

‘‘It was a good season, we improved on last year moving up from sixth to fourth and it’s disappointing to be so close to the grand final.’’